Alfonso Soriano an Atlanta Brave?
It’s not that far fetched if the Cubs can somehow package Soriano in a deal with Marlon Byrd, who the Braves have been interested in acquiring over the last 10 months.
Soriano’s insistence on being dealt to a contender makes Atlanta an ideal destination considering the Braves were a postseason shoe-in before its historic September collapse enabled St. Louis to win the Wild Card.
And with Atlanta having avoided the signing of a single free agent this winter, Soriano’s bat and Byrd’s outfield versatility could be the complementary pieces to push the Braves back into October.
The rumored name as the return piece is Martin Prado, a 28-year-old LF/2B who’s coming off a down year with Atlanta.
With Chicago smitten this offseason signing players on the rebound–Prado fits the mold. A serious staff infection limited his playing time to 129 games, .260 average, 13 HR & 57 RBI in 2011–numbers well below his breakout season the year prior.
Prado earned All Star honors in 2010 while finishing 9th in the NL MVP voting. His .307 average was 7th best in the NL, as was his runs scored (100). His 40 doubles ranked 6th best, 184 hits 4th best, and 126 singles 3rd best.
Although Prado was primarily an outfielder for the Braves last season, he’s played more games at second base than any other position in his three full seasons in Atlanta.
Trading for Prado likely spells the end of Darwin Barney as the Cubs starting second baseman, who despite a hot start at the plate, including his 47 multi-hit games to lead all big league rookies, struggled mightily in the season’s second half hitting a touch over .200.
Prado easily projects as an upgrade over Barney and affords the Cubs some quality depth with Darwin coming off the bench as an adequate replacement for Prado or Stalin Castro at SS.
As always, however, the big catch is the money. Prado recently resigned with Atlanta for 1-yr, $4.75 million, and is left with one year arbitration eligibility.
Marlon Byrd, on the other hand, is owed $6.5 million on the final season of his 3-yr, $15 million deal signed with Chicago in 2010.
Then there’s Soriano’s mega-deal of $54 million remaining on the final three years of his ridiculous contract.
Even if the Cubs stay true to its word of eating some $40 million of Soriano’s remaining deal, the Braves would absorb roughly $20.5 million total for both players, or about $11.1 million for 2012.
That’s a lot of dough, and assures us the Cubs would need to be very creative in what they ask for in addition to Prado in return.
But with Chipper Jones straddling the line of retirement, and the Braves perhaps just one move away from a return to the postseason…we could very well have a potential deal in the making.